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Businesses urged to end ‘greenwashing’ practices

Åðßôñïðïò ÐåñéâÜëëïíôïò Ìáñßá Ðáíáãéþôïõ
Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou

Businesses must stop engaging in ‘greenwashing’ because it is undermining responsible social and environmental performance, Environment Commissioner Maria Panayiotou said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a forum on preventing greenwashing in small and medium businesses, held at the Centre for Innovation and Blue Economy of the Limassol Municipality, the commissioner said a “collective effort” is needed to curtail the practice, which exploits consumers through misleading presentation of activities as environmentally friendly when they are not.

Panayiotou noted that the practice of marketing activities as environmentally friendly, while in actuality foregoing measures to protect the environment, is a significant problem.

“This practice [has] worrying ramifications for society, the environment and the economy itself,” she said, as it encourages consumers to make unsustainable choices.

Moreover, Panayiotou continued, deceitful companies erode public trust when the truth about their environmental practices becomes known.

“This can discourage environmental awareness, diverting attention away from the real challenges and actions needed to achieve true sustainability,” the commissioner said.

Therefore, preventing the phenomenon through implementation of transparent and reliable environmental practices is a priority, Panayiotou noted.

Businesses should be bound by corporate responsibility to consider the social, environmental, and ethical impacts of their activities and not distort this commitment, she said.

The commissioner referred to awaited results of a relevant survey on the issue by Analytica Market Research.

The workshop on prevention of greenwashing, is the second in a series of “green skills” development for small-scale and medium businesses organised by NGO CSR Cyprus, with the aim of promoting corporate sustainability and responsibility.

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